It runs in the family: Meta-regulation and its siblings

Authors

  • Sharon Gilad

    Corresponding author
    1. The Department of Political Science and the Federman School of Public Policy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
      Sharon Gilad, The Department of Political Science and the Federman School of Public Policy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. Email: gilads@mscc.huji.ac.il
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Sharon Gilad, The Department of Political Science and the Federman School of Public Policy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. Email: gilads@mscc.huji.ac.il

Abstract

Regulators in different countries and domains experiment with regulatory tools that allow organizations to adapt regulation to their individual circumstances, while holding them accountable for their self-regulation systems. Several labels have been coined for this type of regulation, including systems-based regulation, enforced self-regulation, management-based regulation, principles-based regulation, and meta-regulation. In this article, these forms of regulatory governance are classified as belonging to one family of “process-oriented regulation.” Based on a review of diverse empirical and theoretical research, it is suggested that the family of process-oriented regulation tends to have a positive, albeit varied, impact on organizations' performance, and the factors that shape this inconsistent effect are analyzed. Building on aspects of Parker's normative construct of “meta-regulation,” the article explores the extent to which her innovative notion of a learning-oriented approach to regulation might overcome some of the weaknesses of prevalent process-oriented approaches. It is proposed that under conditions of regulatory uncertainty or entrenched and prevalent non-compliance or both, meta-regulation is likely to have many advantages over other forms of process-oriented regulation. Yet realizing these advantages requires a rare combination of high regulatory capacity, a stable regulatory agenda, and a supportive political environment.

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